Thursday, June 06, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Revolution, season 1 (2012-2013) ***

TV-14, 20 45-min. episodes
Creator: Eric Kripke

Directors: Jon Favreau, Charles Beeson, Sanford Bookstaver, Félix Enríquez Alcalá, Jon Cassar, Steve Boyum, Guy Norman Bee, Fred Toye, Miguel Sapochnik, John F. Showalter, Nick Copus, Helen Shaver

Writers: Eric Kripke, Monica Owusu-Breen, Anne Cofell Saunders, Paul Grellong, David Rambo, Matt Pitts, Melissa Glenn, Jim Barnes, Oahna Ly

Starring: Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito, Zak Orth, David Lyons, JD Pardo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Daniella Alonso

Guest starring: Anna Lise Phillips, Graham Rodgers, Tim Guinee, Maria Howell, C. Thomas Howell, David Meunier, Michael Mosley, Mark Pellegrino, Derek Webster, Michael Bowen, Shane Callahan, Jeff Fahey, Ric Reitz, Kim Raver, David Andrews, Maureen Sebastian, Todd Stashwick, Phillip DeVona, Colin Ford, Josh Cox, Conor O’Farrell, Colm Feore, Alyssa Diaz, Reed Diamond, Michael Harding, Nishi Munchi, Glynn Turman, Leland Orser, James Shanklin, Patrick St. Esprit, Glenn Morshower, Nestor Serrano, Malik Yoba, Kate Burton, Leslie Hope, Annie Wersching, Jason Brooks, Timothy Busfield, Michael Gladis, Robert Neary, Rus Blackwell, Robin Spriggs, Ramon Fernandez, Tarek Alame, Omid Abtahi, Raheem Babalola

The first season of Jon Favreau’s action adventure series “Revolution” proved to be one of the few successes for NBC this season. It’s compiled of adventure elements that have worked in other shows and some that haven’t. Of the recent series that it reminds me of the most, last year’s near miss “Terra Nova” comes the closest in spirit. The first half of the season was merely good, but didn’t really take the risks the producers seemed more willing to explore in the second half of the season. I could’ve taken or left the first half. The second half proved much more interesting.

The show is about a future in which an “event” has left the Earth without any electrical power. Imagine if our modern technology-driven society were suddenly thrust back into the days before Ben Franklin flew that kite in a lightning storm. Most of the action takes place 15 years after the worldwide power outage. Flashbacks fill in many of the expositional details. We meet a girl named Charlie, whose family is accosted by militia under the employ of one of two governing forces in what was formerly known as the United States. This is the Monroe Republic. The Georgia Republic comes into play during the more interesting second half of season one.

Charlie’s father is murdered and the soldiers take her brother, so she sets out to find her only remaining family member, her uncle Miles. It turns out Miles used to be one of the leaders of the militia and his former best friend is the Monroe behind the Monroe Republic. It also turns out that her parents had something to do with why the lights went out and her mother is being held by Monroe so she can give him power again. There is much that I will leave unexplained, but this runs the typical thriller gamut of conspiracies and betrayal that always fuels a great action soap opera. And, as the series goes along it gets richer.

Unlike many of these types of series, such as “Lost”, the writers have decided not to stretch out many of the questions about what is really going on over the course of several seasons. By the end of season one, most of the questions raised in the first half of the season have been answered. A few new questions have presented themselves, but they avoid that annoying teasing of the audience with answers they’ve been dying to discover but never come. They still manage a pretty good cliffhanger at the end of the season, baiting the hook for that second season that eluded some many of NBC’s new shows this year.

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